Push to the End

As we approach the holidays, the business of the semester begins to look a lot more similar to what it did back in August. It is a time of planning, executing, and celebrating events as we close in on the end of the semester. With our last service of the year fast approaching on December 8th, we have a lot to get through. Here is everything we had going on in November.

November started with a bit of a personal and fun weekend trip. One of my hobbies that I have had for a while is a very nerdy tabletop game called Warhammer. Warhammer is a science fiction game where you and your opponent field armies based on a set of guidelines, and then compete for 2-3 hours to see who will come out victorious. It is a lot more complicated than that, but that is the gist of it. I went to a short tournament with a bunch of the alumni of our ministry who are also big fans of the game, and that was a super fun experience! On Friday and Saturday I got to live the nerdy pastor dream of a schedule that consisted of Purposeful 1 on 1, then a game, then a purposeful 1 on 1 with another long time friend, and the cycle continued until bedtime. Being interested in such a nerdy hobby has been a huge blessing being at UTD. We have some of the biggest geeks of any of the campuses that FOCUS operates at, and that has allowed me to use something like Warhammer as a means to connect to, spend time with, and stay connected to students as I pastor here. Being that it is such a long game, there is also plenty of time for purposeful conversation! All this to say, the first weekend of the month was super fun! 

It wasn't just Friday and Saturday that were eventful though, the next Sunday and Monday were also extremely fun in their own right! We had what our staff has jokingly named Iainpalooza. Iain Provan is an Old Testament scholar who teaches the Old Testament Foundations class that our apprentices take every year. He came down to Texas to put on 3 big events for us. First was our combined church service. FOCUS is affiliated with the DFW Metro Family of Churches, a group of churches started by the Northeast Church in Garland. Since we were having Iain come for another event, we decided to have a large combined event so that Iain could speak to all of our communities. These include churches in Arlington, Denton, Plano, Wylie, Garland, and all of our FOCUS campuses in DFW. He was preaching and speaking to us all weekend from a book called "Cuckoos in Our Nest". The book is a take on how the Cuckoo bird lays its eggs. Cuckoos are know for laying their eggs in other bird's nests, so that the other bird will raise their young. The cuckoo then grows up to push the other birds out and become the prevailing dependent on the mother bird. The book addresses ideas that have done this in the Church around the world. In his talk to our churches, and then later that evening for our semesterly Pizza Theology, Iain spoke on not only what a lot of these Cuckoos are in the church's nest, but also what a lot of the implications are for these. If you're interested in the book, you can find it on Amazon here. The next day, Iain met with our ministry staff and had a Q&A about the book. We all had read it, and spent the 5 hour session mostly asking questions and learning, but also getting to share a lunch with Dr. Provan. One thing that has been very encouraging on the back end of the "Iainpalooza", is how positive our student's responses have been to the talk. Overall, even though the whole set of talks panned out to about 22 hours of work for me, it was very educational, rewarding, and encouraging. 

(Iain speaking at Pizza Theology)

(Iain preaching to our church family)

The next big thing was a combined small group with the other groups that meet on Wednesday. We held a firepit worship session together, and it was a super fun time of praise and fellowship. FOCUS at UTD has 8 small groups that meet throughout the afternoon and evening on Wednesdays, and to pull together all of these people, (many of who this was this first interaction with the larger community) was pretty special. 

The last big event of November was a Thanksgiving, put on my a member of our community named Wilson. Last year, the Wednesday groups had done a friendsgiving instead of the firepit worship, and Wilson saw the loss of that and decided he would organize it for people who wouldn't be able to go back to their families over break. It was a huge bit of initiative to take, but he made for a very meaningful and tasty time for those students in our ministry who don't have the same access to travel that others do. To put it lightly, I was very impressed that he saw and filled that need.

All of that was the highlights of November, which as you can tell we were not lacking for. Thank you all so much for your support and prayer. This year wrapping up has been a bit of a blitz, but it has been a blessing none the less, and one that I am super glad I get to be a part of. 


Popular Posts